LAS VEGAS Wendy Wampach has been dating Rick Schroeder for about four years, but neither one can remember when their romance started. So when they decided a couple of months ago to get married, the date they chose was an obvious one: 12/12/12.
"So we can remember our anniversary," Wampach said.
And the location? A place they had enjoyed visiting many times: Las Vegas.
They are among the thousands of couples expected to declare their vows of everlasting love in Las Vegas today, Dec. 12 the last such triple-date likely to occur in their lifetimes.
Weddings aren't the only way the date will be marked around the nation. A Michigan sixth-grader will get her ears pierced on her 12th birthday. Two law-enforcement officials will exchange wedding vows at 12:12 p.m. in Pittsburgh's federal courthouse. And the FireKeepers Casino near Battle Creek, Mich., will cut the ribbon for its new eight-story hotel at 12:12 p.m., the Associated Press reported.
The Vegas wedding wave is partly driven by the fact that many couples consider it lucky to get married on such a propitious date. There was an especially large crush on 07-07-07, which broke Las Vegas records, and 10-10-10 and 11-11-11. During the four-day periods leading up to those dates, Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, issued licenses to 4,333; 3,090; and 3,342 couples. The total for an average month would be about 7,500.
The 80 or so chapels in Las Vegas have been gearing up for the rush, as has the Marriage License Bureau, which went from five to nine windows and has had staff working overtime.
Wampach and Schroeder arrived Monday morning from Burnsville, Minn., at the Aria Resort and Casino, saw a Bee Gees tribute show, and woke up Tuesday to get ready for the limousine that would take them the 3.5 miles north along the Strip for the run-through at the Chapel of the Flowers, the nuptials site.
Aimee Stephens, a spokeswoman for the chapel, said her colleagues had spent "the past couple of months getting our game plans together" for the big day.
There were 80 weddings scheduled today at Chapel of the Flowers, about 15 times what would be expected for a Wednesday in December.
Couples were coming from England, Brazil, Canada and Luxembourg, paying special prices ranging from $812 to $2,412 just for the ceremony.
Why were they choosing this day to start their futures together? "People like being a part of something larger," Stephens said, adding that the brides also wanted "to make it easier for their husbands to remember."
A few blocks north along the Strip, at Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapels, Brian Mills had 120 weddings scheduled, which, he said, is 12 times what is typical for this time of year.
Besides being general manager, Mills also plays Elvis in several wedding packages. (Couples can also choose to get married with a pink Cadillac, or by staff members dressed up as James Bond or Michael Jackson.) Prices range from $312.12 to $1,212.12.
As for Wampach, on Monday night, she had only one regret: Her 12/12/12 wedding was scheduled for 9 a.m.
"I wasn't thinking," she said. "I should've done it at 12 noon. Then, it would've ended at 12:12."